Who could have thought that in the space of just two short weeks I would completely pack up my belongings and move half way across the world to Paraguay? And yet here I sit on a porch drinking terere with the most beautiful surroundings listening to a chorus of birds, crickets, frogs and heavens only knows what else!
It all kicked off when I was offered my dream job to work as a field biologist with an amazing organisation – Para la Tierra! Having spent my child hood years in South Africa where wildlife of every kind surrounded me I knew that all I wanted to do was work with animals, but in particular with reptiles!! So I completed my Bachelor Degree of Science in Zoology and did my Research Masters on “The Evolution of Reproductive Strategies in Reptiles”. So working with Para la Tierra in such an undiscovered part of the world was an amazing opportunity I would be crazy to turn down!
The journey to Paraguay was...ummm....“interesting” from the word go!! My Dublin flight was delayed which meant missing every connection flight and arriving half a day late which seemed a lot after 35hours of travelling. Looking out the window as we landed in Asuncion I slowly began to realise “wow this looks very different to the 40 shades of green I’m used to back home!”. My first couple of days in Asuncion went by in a whirlwind of new faces, customs, places and new food. Having just come out of vegetarianism I was thrown into a meaty diet of pork and beef and yes I even tried tongue on my first night, which is not that bad, a bit salty but surprisingly OK!!
When it was time to leave for Laguna Blanca, which was to become my new home, I hopped onto a coach with Karina (the principal scientist for Para la Tierra) and took a 5 hour coach ride to Santa Rosa. Luckily it was a brand new coach which made for an easy ride! I loved the idea that people randomly hop on and off the bus selling you everything from DVD’s and combs to fruit and chipa (which is like a bagel made from corn, very tasty!!). Another hour by car and we are finally at Laguna Blanca which is such a hidden paradise I am not sure any words could do it justice!